VASSALBORO: New hire proposal withdrawn; select board nixes KVCOG membership

by Mary Grow

After reviewing pieces of the proposed 2024-25 town budget at their regular meeting Feb. 22, Vassalboro select board members scheduled a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 29, to continue discussion.

Two decisions were made Feb. 22.

Town Manager Aaron Miller said he had postponed his proposal to hire a part-time town office staff member, given the difficulty of finding candidates for the position. Select board members did not argue.
Paying for a membership in the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments was deleted. Board chairman Chris French said he saw no need for the organization’s help in 2024-25.

Board members reduced the proposed 2024-25 paving budget. They agreed to buy a skidsteer, to plow North Vassalboro sidewalks beginning next winter and for other, year-round uses, and to budget the first of three installments for a new loader. No public works department representative was at the Feb. 22 meeting.

They considered a proposal to offer family health insurance to town employees. Miller said five employees would be interested. French sees offering the coverage as a way to keep Vassalboro competitive in the job market.

There was consensus that adding family coverage to present policies is not necessarily the way to go; more options will be explored.

Conservation Commission spokesman Holly Weidner said the China Region Lakes Alliance (CRLA), for which $13,500 was recommended, is inactive for lack of an executive director. There is a proposal that China and Vassalboro lake associations take over the CRLA’s Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) program, with the Conservation Commission coordinating and getting the $13,500.

The proposed appropriation was labeled water quality and its place in the budget left undetermined while, Miller said, he “figures out what’s going on.”

Weidner said over the years CBI inspectors have found and removed fragments of invasive weeds on boats being brought to China and Vassalboro lakes and ponds.

Select board members’ recommended budget will be reviewed by the budget committee. Voters will make the final decisions at the June 3 annual town meeting.

The Feb. 22 meeting started with a public hearing on a revised solid waste ordinance, now renamed the Solid Waste & Recycling Ordinance. There were no public comments. This ordinance, like the budget, will need voters’ approval.

A second public hearing was on an application for a junkyard license for the property at 1499 Riverside Drive, which includes a junkyard and a business named ABC Fuel. There was agreement to consider the junkyard and the fuel business as separate, even though they’re on the same site.

Codes officer Jason Lorrain said although the application is for a junkyard license renewal, he considers it a new license, because, he said, former owner Olin Charette’s son is the current owner.

On Lorrain’s recommendation, select board members unanimously approved the junkyard license. Lorrain said the new license has the same conditions, like requiring screening, that previous ones had.

From the audience, planning board member Douglas Phillips said ABC Fuel needs a site review permit from the planning board as a new business.

In other business, select board members continued discussing with Lorrain, Phillips and Miller what changes, if any, need to be made in town ordinances to comply with the new state law commonly called LD 2003.

Intended to promote affordable housing, LD 2003 loosens density requirements in some parts of municipalities to allow one or two ADUs, Accessory Dwelling Units, to share a lot on which a single house currently stands.

There was agreement on two points: the law would not allow increased housing density along Vassalboro’s lakes and ponds, because shoreland zoning limitations would prevail; and the relevant document in Vassalboro is the town’s eight-page Building Permit Ordinance, not the Site Review Ordinance.

Miller said there are evidently two options: propose amendments to the Building Permit Ordinance for voters’ approval, or take no action, in effect leaving compliance with state law to the codes officer.

The codes officer, rather than the planning board, has primary responsibility for the Building Permit Ordinance. Lorrain has been studying the issue and presented some questions for select board discussion.

An ordinance amendment, if the chosen choice, would require a public hearing and a town vote. Renewed discussion was postponed until May, after board members finish preparing the 2024-25 budget.

Open letter to Maine legislators

The following letter was sent to all Maine legislators from Vassalboro Town Manager Aaron Miller:

Feb. 21, 2023

Dear Legislator,

I am writing to you today as a member of Delta Ambulance’s Board of Directors, Town Manager of Vassalboro, first responder for Whitefield, and resident of Alna.

Faced with inadequate funding, EMS agencies in Maine have struggled for years to keep their heads above water. In the years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those services have been pushed beyond their tipping point.

Staffing shortages were exacerbated by delays in new EMS clinician graduations and agencies were subsequently forced into wage wars to recruit and retain existing field providers. Payroll along with other operating costs rose to levels never seen before while insurance reimbursements, the backbone of EMS funding, stagnated.

The Blue Ribbon Commission extensively studied EMS services across Maine and identified a large gap between reimbursement and expenses. The Commission recommended a dispersal of $70 million each year for five years to all of Maine’s transport services. Despite the Commission’s recommendation and clear demonstration of need, less than half of the $70 million was approved for a one-time infusion, and only $10 million was allocated for emergency funding. Furthermore, transporting services like Delta were capped at receiving no more than $200 thousand – an amount that quite frankly will do nothing for sustainability.

For the first time since 1972, Delta, which currently provides 911 coverage to 13 towns in the greater Augusta and Waterville regions, recently instituted service fees of $15 per capita to towns receiving their 911 coverage. At the end of last year, Delta announced that the per-capita charge will increase to $25 per capita for 2024 and that by 2025, it will fall somewhere in a range between the mid-thirties to seventies depending on other factors. These numbers reflect the necessary changes to reach a break-even budget.

Just recently, municipal officials in the towns of Albion, Benton, China, Fairfield, and Oakland have cited a “fiduciary responsibility” to their citizens and are asking for a reduced rate of $20 per capita this year – an amount that cannot be accommodated by Delta. If the BRC’s recommended amount had been approved and released promptly, it would have allowed for a slower per-capita rate increase and lessened the blow to towns already facing financial challenges of their own.

The funding was announced seven months ago. Delta still hasn’t seen any of these funds despite a successful application submission which was not made available until December. Can you please let us know when we can expect to receive these funds? What are the plans to effectively address the statewide issue and how will this be accomplished in a timely manner?

Sincerely, Aaron C. Miller

Vassalboro school board members see small piece of budget

Vassalboro Community School (contributed photo)

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro school board members got an introduction to some small pieces of the 2024-25 school budget at their Feb. 13 meeting. There will be more budget discussion at future meetings.

The Feb. 13 agenda included presentations from:

Finance director Paula Pooler on three accounts, a $500 one that will remain the same next year as this year and two that are slated to be reduced by around $8,000, total, in 2024-25;
Transportation director Ashley Pooler, whose presentation sparked a discussion of whether to apply to the state for a new school bus for next year (the preliminary answer is yes); and
Technology director Will Backman, who explained a proposed $8,000 increase in the technology budget.

Another minor budget issue that generated discussion was school board members’ compensation. They currently receive $40 per meeting, a figure Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer said (and, from the audience, select board member Michael Poulin agreed) is less than other area school or select board members get.

Board members want to think about whether to propose an increase, so a decision was postponed.

Future meetings will deal with larger budget figures. This year’s Vassalboro school budget, as approved by voters at the 2023 town meeting, totals a little over $9 million.

Paula Pooler said spending remains on track, and the lunch program, which ran a deficit for some years, is holding its own. Pfeiffer said there are planned kitchen upgrades at Vassalboro Community School, now that the lunch program can support them.

After another discussion of the day care program Jennifer Lizotte operates at VCS, board members agreed to consider extending the lease for more than a year at a time, so Lizotte can make long-range plans with confidence. The topic will be on the agenda for the March school board meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 19.

Vassalboro select board honors scouting

Front row, from left to right, Tiger Scout Greyson Malloy, Wolf Scout John Gray, and Webelos Scout Henry Gray. Back, Webelos Scout Anthony Malloy, Arrow of Light Scout William Vincent, Scoutmaster Christopher Santiago, and Selectmen Rick Denico. (photo by Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

On the 114th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, the Vassalboro Board of Selectmen read a proclamation by Town Manager Aaron Miller recognizing the anniversary of Scouting on February 8 and also recognizing the service to the community performed by Scouts in both Cub Scout Pack #410 and Scout Troop #410.

“Whereas, the Scouts of Vassalboro have given service to the community through their participation in such worthy programs as the annual Scouting for Food Drive, Spring and Fall “Scouting for Food” Food Drives for Vassalboro Food Pantry, marched in Memorial and Veterans Day parades, participated with Vassalboro American Legion Post #126 for Flag Day Retirement Ceremony, volunteered to staff Blacksmith Shop for Vassalboro Historical Society, participated in Vassalboro Days and Duck Race, participated in Honor Flight Maine Welcome Home Ceremony at the Portland Jetport, completed Eagle Scout Project consisting of a Story Book on Hiking Path, volunteered at the Vassalboro Community School PTO Pancake with Santa, volunteered at Vassalboro Tree Lighting at the Mill and participated in the Wreaths Across America at the State of Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Augusta, on Civic Center Drive,” read part of the proclamation.

“Based on Robert Baden-Powell’s international scouting movement, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was a remarkable institution that expanded rapidly following its introduction into America in 1910,” according to the Library of Congress. “Primary goals of the American movement were to help boys develop the skills, the knowledge, and the “character” required to better serve themselves and their country.” Since then, Scouting has expanded to include girls as members at both the Cub Pack and Scout Troop levels.

Selectman Rick Denico has a scouting background. He served as Scoutmaster of Troop #410, Kennebec Valley District chairman and member of the Pine Tree Council Executive Board. He encouraged the youth to get involved in their community and lend a hand as Scouting teaches.

Laura Jones announces candidacy for House

Laura Jones

Laura Jones, retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, and Vassalboro native, has announced her election campaign for House District #61, in Vassalboro and part of Sidney.

“Vassalboro has always been where my heart is and where I was happy to return to. I served my country for 25 years and now I am happy to serve my community. I will continue to work as hard as I can in Augusta for the people of Vassalboro and Sidney.” said Jones.

Jones, 52, a fourth generation Vassalboro resident, was born in Waterville and raised in Vassalboro. Jones served 25 years in the military, with deployments and assignments to Haiti, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Japan. She currently works at her family’s business, Fieldstone Gardens, in Vassalboro. She has been very active in the community helping organize and promote community events for the Vassalboro Historical Society, Grange, Mill and Vassalboro Business Association. She currently serves on the Board of the Vassalboro Historical Society and is their treasurer.

“Laura’s contributions to the community since retiring from military service are commendable and her life experiences will serve her well in Augusta,” said Barbara Redmond, former Vassalboro selectperson. “Laura is an excellent candidate and will do a great job representing the residents of Vassalboro and part of Sidney in the legislature”.

Visit Laura Jones on Facebook and her campaign website.

VASSALBORO: New town park officially named Eagle Park

by Mary Grow

It’s official: Vassalboro’s new town park on Outlet Stream and Route 32, a bit north of East Vassalboro village, is named Eagle Park.

Select board members made the decision unanimously at their Feb. 8 meeting, at the request of conservation commission chairman Holly Weidner. Weidner told them a Boy Scout intends to make a sign for the park as his Eagle Scout project.

The name is appropriate, Weidner said, because now that alewives can migrate the length of the stream, from the Sebasticook River to China Lake, the park attracts bald eagles (and great blue herons) that prey on the fish.

The Feb. 8 meeting included recognition of the week that includes Feb. 8 as scouting’s anniversary week. With troop leaders and members present, select board member Frederick “Rick” Denico, Jr., read a proclamation listing the Vassalboro Scouts’ many volunteer projects and activities.

Select board members spent much of the rest of their meeting talking about the Vassalboro Sanitary District’s (VSD) financial problems and about allocating remaining federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds.

The VSD is deeply in debt for the recent connection to the Waterville-Winslow sewage disposal system. Because of debt repayments, the fees charged to its 200 or so customers in East and North Vassalboro have risen steeply and will continue to rise.

Town Manager Aaron Miller said VSD officials have asked the town for $200,000 from the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) fund. Miller said he asked the VSD’s attorney and the town’s attorney to consider the situation together.

Meanwhile, Denico reported, he had connected VSD officials with U. S. Senator Susan Collins’ office, as Vassalboro’s state senator, Matthew Pouliot, recommended. Select board chairman Chris French added that state representative Richard Bradstreet had discussed VSD customers’ concerns with Maine Governor Janet Mills.

Vassalboro’s TIF money comes from taxes paid on the gas pipeline that runs through the town.

Miller said Vassalboro has about $84,000 in unappropriated ARPA funds. Board members discussed three potential uses and approved two, work on the fuel tanks at the public works garage (which are used by Vassalboro’s school, fire and police departments as well as public works) and buying generators for the town office, the food pantry and the Riverside fire station.

A third request was from Police Chief Mark Brown, for a rifle and related items, radar and additional equipment for the police vehicle. A discussion among board and audience members started with whether Brown’s duties justify the additional weaponry – board members said yes, all law enforcement officers face danger – and veered into speeding control.

The claim that Vassalboro select board members told Brown not to enforce speed limits was partially denied. Because he works only 15 hours a week – and, French reminded everyone, voters at the 2023 town meeting rejected a proposal to increase his hours to 20 a week – board members want to minimize time he spends in court defending speeding tickets.

Audience members divided over whether law enforcement is the best way to deter speeders. Weidner, referring to the recent meeting on East Vassalboro traffic, advocated for measures that make the roadway appear narrower – a narrow road is most likely to make drivers slow down, she said.

Board members unanimously approved funds for the rifle and radar, only; they await more information on vehicle modifications.

Douglas Phillips presented the Historical Society’s request for continued ARPA funding for lighting and other work at the former East Vassalboro schoolhouse, owned by the town and leased by the historical society as its headquarters and museum. Select board members unanimously approved.

Miller proposed adding a municipal buildings account in future budgets.

The historical society owns five East Vassalboro buildings, Phillips said: the Weymouth barn on the east side of Main Street south of the Grange Hall, and on the west side of the street the former Taylor house and barn, the adjacent blacksmith shop, the former East Village Fire House just north and the harness shop behind the fire house. Society officials are applying for grants to maintain these buildings.

In other business, board members asked Miller to draft an article for the town meeting warrant asking voters to delete the quorum requirement for a special town meeting. Since 1991, 125 registered voters must sign in before a special meeting can begin, a requirement select board members consider an obstacle to trying to hold a special meeting.

The next regular Vassalboro select board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 22. It will start with a public hearing on proposed amendments to the town’s solid waste ordinance (now renamed the Solid Waste and Recycling Ordinance).

Vassalboro planners take up three issues

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro planning board members discussed three very different issues at their Feb. 6 meeting, none needing a yes or no decision.

The consideration of a new state law might lead to recommended amendments to town ordinances, which would need voter approval.
An application for a commercial solar development is unlikely to re-appear until May or June.
Planned repairs to a seasonal home on Webber Pond appear to be in the codes officer’s jurisdiction.

The state law, still widely called LD 2003, was passed in 2022 and is intended to provide more housing by allowing greater density. Vassalboro board chairman Virginia Brackett sees it as applying primarily to towns with zoning restrictions, which Vassalboro does not have.

After considering what the law and various words and phrases in it mean, board members asked codes officer Jason Lorrain to draft any amendments he thinks Vassalboro ordinances need.

Board member and former codes officer Paul Mitnik mentioned other ordinance changes he would like to have considered.

Annalise Kukor, of ReVision Energy, presented a revised preliminary plan for a solar development on Webber Pond Road. The site is on land owned by Eileen M. Flanagan, at 1026 Webber Pond Road, south of Vassalboro Community School.

The original plan, presented to the board on Nov. 14, 2023 (see the Nov. 23, 2023, issue of The Town Line, p. 3), asked for a waiver of setback requirements to allow the solar panels to be close to the rear boundary.

After discussion with the abutting landowners, Kukor said, the waiver request is withdrawn and the solar panels moved south to meet boundary setback requirements.

Board members had no objections to the preliminary plan. Kukor expects to need several months to have a final plan ready for board review.

Ron Blaisdell brought up the camp repairs. He explained that he is caretaker for several summer places on Webber Pond, and one needs a deck replaced, with minor changes including the addition of stairs.

He also needs to dig out and replace some overgrown shrubs on the property, he said.

Planning board members established that the rebuilt deck will not be closer to the lake than the original one. They decided that Blaisdell’s replacement projects fall under Lorrain’s jurisdiction, not theirs.

In other business, board member Marianne Stevens reported on some of the suggestions for slowing traffic through East Vassalboro Village that were discussed at a recent meeting of local residents.

Lorrain reported that he knows of two sheds crushed by fallen trees in the shoreland zone that need to be replaced. He anticipates applications to the planning board.

Lorrain asked about an issue involving enforcement of covenants in a board-approved subdivision. Mitnik and Brackett said the issue needs to be settled by subdivision residents; it is not the planning board’s business.

The next regular Vassalboro planning board meeting will be Tuesday evening, March 5.

Vassalboro select board begins review of 2024-25 budget

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro select board members began review of the draft 2024-25 town budget, prepared by Town Manager Aaron Miller, at a Feb. 6 meeting that lasted almost three hours. They continued discussion for an hour before their regular Feb. 8 meeting.

Miller’s first draft totaled close to $3.9 million, and represented an increase of more than $256,000 over the current year. By Feb. 8, the estimated increase was more than $258,000.

This part of the budget covers municipal services and an estimated 10 percent increase in the 2024-25 bill from Kennebec County. The 2024-25 school budget is separate; Vassalboro school board members were scheduled to begin work on it at their Feb. 13 meeting.

Select board chairman Chris French emphasized that the budget presented to voters at the June 3 annual town meeting “will look very different” from the February draft. Select board members will continue to refine figures for proposed expenditures and compare them with expected revenues.

Select board chairman Chris French emphasized that the budget presented to voters at the June 3 annual town meeting “will look very different” from the February draft. Select board members will continue to refine figures for proposed expenditures and compare them with expected revenues; budget committee members will review the entire proposal; and the two boards will negotiate agreements, or agree to disagree in their recommendations.

Select board members began the Feb. 6 discussion by accepting Miller’s recommendation that town employees get 3.2 percent cost of living raises plus two percent merit raises for 2024-25.

Miller had recommended continuing the select board members’ stipends at the current level, $2,500 apiece. French argued for a cost of living increase, and, he said, the board chairman should get $500 more than the other two members because of the extra time he (or she) spends on town business.

French will not be board chairman in 2024-25, unless board policy is changed. If he runs for another three-year term and is re-elected, he will become the junior board member and Frederick “Rick” Denico, Jr., will become chairman.

The result of the discussion was, for now, a recommended increase of $680 in the budget line for select board.

Miller recommended, and board members supported, hiring a part-time staff person at the town office, primarily to cover the counter during especially busy times, lunch hours and when another staffer is out sick, running a town errand or on vacation. Details remain to be worked out; by the Feb. 8 meeting, the cost was estimated at $21,000.

The preliminary public works and paving budgets are about $167,000 higher than this year, generating considerable discussion of equipment needs – costs and timing – and paving plans.

How to plow the new sidewalks planned for North Vassalboro was one subtopic. Board members considered buying a piece of equipment, and discussed what they could buy that would be useful year-round; or contracting out the work.

Another subtopic was the bridge on Mill Hill Road, on which the state has threatened to post a speed limit. The issue first came up at the board’s Nov. 2, 2023, meeting, when board members learned the double culvert carrying Seven Mile Stream under the road had deteriorated significantly (see the Nov. 9, 2023, issue of The Town Line, p. 3).

Board member Denico said as of the previous night, posting had been delayed a year or so; but the town will have to fix the bridge eventually. He estimated the cost at up to $600,000 if the bridge were one lane wide and up to twice that for a two-lane bridge.

Proposed additions to the public works budget range from increasing employees’ boot allowance to hiring one more full-time employee, perhaps shared with the transfer station. Adding a person would reduce hours each driver works during blizzards and other emergencies.

The manager recommends starting a reserve fund to pay for a town-wide property revaluation. His suggested figure for 2024-25 is $40,000.

During the Feb. 8 select board meeting, French suggested a town meeting warrant article asking voters to approve $25,000 for town expenses when Vassalboro Community School is used as an emergency shelter.

Douglas Phillips, speaking for the Vassalboro Historical Society, discussed problems at the former East Vassalboro schoolhouse, owned by the town and leased by the society as its headquarters and museum. The wooden building and its roof need repairs; if another heat pump is installed, the boiler might be removed, making more storage space; the restroom should be made handicapped-accessible (a chairlift provides access to the building); and cracking tiles in one room contain asbestos, a hazardous substance.

Select board members added $15,000 to the 2024-25 budget for asbestos remediation.

The draft social services budget for 2024-25 currently contains two new requests: $4,000 to support the local Window Dressers program that provides window inserts to help insulate houses; and $3,500 for Kennebec Behavioral Health, an Augusta-based organization that has not previously asked for town support. The Vassalboro food pantry asks for a $2,000 increase that would be used for stipends for volunteers.

Vassalboro Community School second quarter honor roll (2023)

Vassalboro Community School (contributed photo)


High honors: Abigail Prickett, and Judson Smith.

Honors: Tristyn Brown, Zoey Demerchant, Ryleigh French, Drake Goodie, Cooper Lajoie, Caleb Marden, Paige Perry, Bentley Pooler, Hannah Tobey, and Reid Willett.

Honorable mention: Gabriella Brundage, Katherine Maxwell, Kayden Renna, Brooke Reny, and Leigha Sullivan.


High honors: Zoe Gaffney, Allyson Gilman, Cheyenne Lizzotte, Agatha Meyer, Grace Tobey, and Ava Woods.

Honors: Bryleigh Burns, Basil Dillaway, Fury Frappier, Baylee Fuchswanz, Savannah Judkins, Kaitlyn Lavallee, Mia McLean, and Jaelyn Moore.

Honorable mention: Emelia Bartlett, Samuel Bechard, Peyton Bishop, Emily Clark, and Jack Lapierre.


Honors: Zander Austin, Grace Clark, Camden Foster, Aubrey Goforth, Leah Hyden, Aubrey Judkins, Isaac Leonard, Kaylee Pease, Olivia Perry, Elliott Rafuse, Juliahna Rocque, Isaiah Smith, and Charles Stein.

Honorable mention: Lukas Blais, Kaylee Colfer, Dawson Frazer, Peter Giampietro, Landon Lagasse, Austin Pease, and Jaxson Presti.


High honors: Hunter Brown, Kamdyn Couture, Cooper Grant, Sophia-Lynn Howard, Brooklyn Leach, Landon Lindquist, Simon Olson, Willa Rafuse, Alexis Reed, Jackson Robichaud, Robert Wade, Xainte Cloutier, Samantha Craig, Mariah Estabrook, Riley Fletcher, Saraina Lacroix, Cassidy Rumba, Haven Trainor, and Cameron Willett.

Honors: Alexander Bailey, Rylee Boucher, Reese Chechowitz, Braiden Crommett, Molly Dearborn, Levi Demerchant, Liam Dowe, Anthony Dyer, Chase Fay, Ashlynn Hamlin, Avery Hamlin, Tanner Hughes, Kendall Karlsson, Olivia Lane, Trevyn Pooler, Landon Quint, Keegan Robinson, Addison Suga, and Gabriel Tucker.

Honorable mention: Ryder Austin, Maverick Brewer, Eli Dulac, Hunter Green, Desmond Landreth, Aria Lathrop, Owen Mayo, Christopher Santiago, Asher Smith, Mason York-Baker


High honors: Freya Caison, Tucker Lizzotte, Evelyn Meyer, Mayla Wilson, and Alivia Woods.

Honors: Olivia Booker, Camden Desmond, Frankie Farrell, Marley Field, Emma Freeman, Norah French, Henry Gray, Finn Malloy, Gage Nason, Sawyer Plossay, Allysson Portillo, Gabriella Reynolds, Wesley Stewart, Oliver Sugden, Alivia Twitchell, and Haley Witham.

Honorable mention: Parker Bouchard, Preston Richmond, Raistlyn Russell, and Sawyer Weston.


High honors: Estelle Ford, Levi Hotham, Rose Matulis, Lillian Noll, Orion Paulette, Tristan Plossay, Dominic Poulin, Sydney Suga, Anastaysha Timberlake, and Wynn Trainor.

Honors: Christopher Bourgoin, Payton Bowring, Alexander Buckley, Jaxon Crommett, Preston Dupont, Colton Fletcher, Mariskah-Avril Grant, Matthew Henrikson, Thyri Kimball, Jocelyn Parsons, Bianca Pooler, Wyatt Richard, Aria Tardiff, Quentin Tarr, Meaghan Trask, Samuel Tuttle, Jens Tyrol, and Ryan York.

Honorable mention: Airibella Bossie, Aubrey Carron, and Jackson Ingerson.

CORRECTION: Mayla Wilson, a fourth grade student at  Vassalboro Community School achieved high honors for the second quarter of the 2023-24 school year. Her name was misspelled in the February 8, 2024, print edition of The Town Line. It was a source error.

EVENTS: Vassalboro senior lunch to be held February 14, 2024

Vassalboro United Methodist Church (photo: Google streetview)

The next Senior (50+) Soup and Salad luncheon will be next Wednesday, February 14, from 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m., at the Vassalboro United Methodist Church, 614 Main Street, Vassalboro. Lunch is FREE, donations are accepted.

RSVP is not required, just plan on coming for lunch and a time of fellowship. For more information contact Karen Hatch, Vassalboro Community Program Director,

Vassalboro select board to hold two public hearings

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro select board members plan February and March public hearings on two town ordinances they intend to finish revising in time for voter action at the June 3 town meeting.

Amendments to the Solid Waste Ordinance are nearly final (see the Jan. 11 issue of The Town Line, p. 3, and the Jan. 25 issue, pp. 2-3). The hearing on this ordinance is scheduled for Thursday evening, Feb. 22.

Board members are still working on the town’s Marijuana Business Ordinance. They intend to have a revised version ready for a hearing on Thursday, March 7.

Town attorney Kristin Collins attended the board’s Jan. 25 meeting and confirmed what chairman Chris French believes about small medical marijuana growing operations in town: since the state authorizes them, the town cannot ban them (see the Jan. 18 issue of The Town Line, p. 3).

However, Collins said, the town can regulate such operations, including requiring licenses and conformity with local licensing rules.

Discussion of amending the marijuana ordinance was followed by discussion of amending the town’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Ordinance, to expand allowable uses for TIF funds. This amendment, too, would need voter approval, Collins said, and approval by the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

Board members then considered amending yet another local ordinance, the one setting a high quorum requirement for any special town meeting. Town Manager Aaron Miller considers that requiring 125 voters be present to start a special meeting effectively bans such meetings. No decision was made.

The Jan. 25 meeting included a public hearing on renewing marijuana business licenses for five “grandfathered” commercial growing operations, those in business before the 2017 ordinance was approved. Four are on Old Meadows Road; the building housing one on Cushnoc Road is being rebuilt after a fire in the fall of 2022, but select board members did not consider the business had been discontinued.

As codes officer Jason Lorrain recommended, board members renewed the licenses for 2024. One renewal is conditional on installation of a security system, a job Lorrain said is in process.

Chris Mitchell, newly chosen executive director of Delta Ambulance after months as acting executive director, explained again that because of rising costs and stable or declining revenues, Delta needs to join Maine’s other ambulance services in charging an annual fee to towns whose residents it serves.

This year, Delta’s 13 member towns, including Vassalboro, paid $15 per resident, Michell said. For the 2024-25 fiscal year, the request is $25 per head; and it will be higher again in 2025-26.

French asked what happens if some towns don’t pay. Their residents don’t get ambulance service from Delta, Mitchell replied.

He told French losing supporting towns would not raise the 2024-25 rate; the $25 is firm for the year.

The majority of Delta’s board of directors represents area hospitals. French recommended more input from municipalities; Mitchell agreed, and said revamping board membership was a project he hadn’t had time to explore yet.

From the audience, Vassalboro rescue head Dan Mayotte and fire chief Walker Thompson told French they have no problems or concerns about Delta’s service.

Returning to previously-discussed transfer station plans, select board members unanimously approved a contract to pay Senders science engineering and construction, of Camden, $7,600 for mapping Vassalboro’s site; redesigning the facility and assisting with seeking grant funding; and preparing a final plan and obtaining state and local permits.

Miller said company head Jeff Senders’ Jan. 23 meeting with the Transfer Station Task Force had been “productive” and led to a consensus to move ahead.

Select board members briefly discussed two other money matters, making no decision on either.

Resident John Melrose, speaking for the town’s trails committee, asked for funding to improve the South Loop Trail, which he said runs between the public works garage parking lot and the soccer field. Committee members’ main concerns are avoiding bridges and “getting out of the water and the mud,” Melrose said.

He plans to present options with cost estimates at a future select board meeting.

Brian Lajoie, for the public works department, asked approval to use left-over 2023-24 paving money this spring to pave some of Vassalboro’s few remaining gravel roads. Winter gravel road maintenance is challenging, he said.

By that point in the meeting, board member Frederick “Rick” Denico, Jr., had left. French preferred saving the left-over funds; board member Michael Poulin favored Lajoie’s request; a decision was therefore postponed until Denico can break the tie.

French and Poulin accepted the board’s new Remote Participation in Public Proceedings Policy (currently available on the website,, under the agenda for the Jan. 25 select board meeting; as of Jan. 29, not added under Documents: Ordinances and Policies).

The next regular Vassalboro select board meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, Feb. 8.